22 March 2013

Hidden Marchwood Vampires Book One Shalini Boland - Review

What they say (Blurb & info): HIDDEN is a paranormal adventure that spans the centuries from modern London to 19th century Paris and ancient Cappadocia. Sixteen-year-old Madison Greene is in foster care until one day she inherits a fortune, she inherits a house, she inherits a cellar full of danger. Eighteen-year-old Alexandre lives in 19th century Paris. On an archaeological expedition he discovers a lost underground city where his life changes forever.

For each of them, life is finally starting. Little do they know it is closer to ending. Something lies buried which should have been forgotten. A Pandora's Box that was meant to stay shut. But Madison and Alexandre have never been any good at following the rules. They are about to find everything they've ever desired and everything that could destroy them. Falling in love has never been so dangerous.

What I say: As a big fan of anything vampire and history related this was right up my street. Like so many kids I was obsessed with Room 13 (where an evil vampire lives in a hidden room, in a creepy old hotel).

Hidden tells the duel stories of modern day British teenager Madison, and of Alexandre, a French teenager living in the 1800s. Shalini cleverly weaves both stories together until Maddy and Alex eventually meet. Alex and his family leave France to hunt for a lost Turkish village where they face a tragedy which spans the years and miles into modern England. Having spent years living in foster care, Maddy and her brother Ben inherit the huge Marchwood estate (and £61 million). Whilst Ben goes to school, the now rich Maddy investigates the house, finding a hidden door in the basement which holds many dark secrets. I really enjoyed Shalini's twist on the vampire legend (coming from Turkey not Transylvania) and her detailed descriptions of both nineteenth century and modern life.  There were times when I wanted the narrative to get a move on so Maddy and Alex could meet.

Maddy is sassy and forward, but at times she is immature and bratty. Shalini does however manage to make her likeable and interesting. Maddy is totally different from the reserved ladylike girls from Alex's time, but they find each other fascinating and so the story works. The romance is kept to kissing and cuddling, to the point where I felt that we had another Meyer on our hands. I may be cynical but I find it hard to believe that beautiful teenagers living together in modern times away from the constraints of courtly love, with no adult supervision or rules would stick to cuddling. I suppose that the point though is that in Alex's time he causes a scandal from just kissing a girl.

My Aunt lived in a huge ancient house complete with hidden rooms, stairs, trapdoors and like in Hidden; a secret door in the basement. I've never forgotten that secret door and Hidden had me hooked from the off (I never did manage to open the door)! Hidden is the first in a trilogy, with the next instalment Thicker Than Blood already released.

4 Stars in My Sky!

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